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DS Escape Rooms in Haverhill joins a select club in offering a virtual reality quest




An escape rooms in Haverhill has become one of just five in the UK to offer its players a VR (virtual reality) experience.

DS Escape Rooms, in the Menta Business Centre in Hollands Road has this week launched two new VR games, joining a select group of venues to do so in Britain.

An escape room is a live-action team-based game where players cooperatively discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks in one or more rooms in order to progress and accomplish a specific goal in a limited amount of time.

DS Escape Rooms joint owner Scott Jamieson, left, and his son Sam with the hand controller and headset used in the VR quest it has just launched. Picture by Mecha Morton.
DS Escape Rooms joint owner Scott Jamieson, left, and his son Sam with the hand controller and headset used in the VR quest it has just launched. Picture by Mecha Morton.

Games can be played by anything between two and ten players, depending on the size of the rooms, but the VR version does need to be played by at least two people.

DS Escape Rooms has been going for 18-months, initially offering just one room, but adding a second room six months ago.

Now owners David Osmond and Scott Jamieson are offering the exciting new option, which sees participants wear a VR headset and try to accomplish their quest using a simply-operated control unit in each hand.

Echo reporter Steve Barton tries out the new VR experience at DS Escape Rooms in Haverhill. Picture by Mecha Morton.
Echo reporter Steve Barton tries out the new VR experience at DS Escape Rooms in Haverhill. Picture by Mecha Morton.

Scott said he saw the VR games being demonstrated at a convention and got in touch with the creators to ask for permission to use it.

The creators of the software, Ubisoft, sent him a demo and asked Scott to apply to use the games.

Scott admits he was a little surprised to get the go ahead, thinking his venue was too small.

He said: “They said there is no-one else in your area who is even looking at it so we’ve got nothing to lose so you can have it and i was over the moon because it is extremely clever.

“Out of everyone who has tested it, they have all loved it.

“I think what i love about it is that it’s so immersive. When you hear each other talking there’s an echo on it and it feels like they are far away when they are close. It is clever.”

The two VR quests on offer; Escape the Pyramid and Beyond Medusa’s Gate, are part of the Assassins Creed: Odyssey range.

Escape the Pyramid, as the name says, challenges the players to work together to escape from a pyramid and as Echo reporter Steve Barton and photographer Mecha Morton teamed up to discover, is a what feels like a very physical challenge for something that isn’t actually real.

Bows and arrows, flaming torches, platforms that rise and fall (and can be fallen off if you are not careful), walls that must be scaled, sphinxes heads and piercing laser beams all form part of the quest, which is a tough challenge, but at the same time exhilarating.

For two complete VR novices, it took a while to get used to the new experience and the physical demands it places on you, but it falls into place as you progress through the quest - thanks in part it must be said to a bit of useful prompting from Scott.

Scott added: “Normal escape rooms are not quite as physical. It’s different, it’s really different but i like the concept of it.

“That room takes ten to 15 minutes to reset but that doesn’t. I’m ready to go again straight away..”

Scott is now hoping to offer the traditional escape rooms and the new VR option in a more suitable location.

He explained: “We are trying to find our own venue now because we are outgrowing this one and we are quite limited to what we can do.

“I would like to put the VR into its own room because at the moment if someone books the room we can’t open it for VR and vice-versa.”



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